PCOS: One Woman's Journey

Like many other women, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome after many years of uncertainty and misdiagnosis. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) affects approximately 1 in 10 women but is still widely unknown. Some of the effects PCOS may have on women can be life-threatening if they go untreated, ranging from heart disease to diabetes. Sadly, some women will not be diagnosed properly until it is too late. With PCOS the best defense is knowledge, but where do you turn when there is so little known about this syndrome?

I find talking to others who have struggled with the same obstacles as I have to be very comforting and informative. I had the great pleasure of chatting with Julie Renee Holland via email about her struggles with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and how publishing on Lulu has enabled her to spread the word and help other women just like me who are battling with the same difficulties.


CarolHi Julie. I came across your book, Alternative PCOS Solutions, while browsing through the Lulu site and was elated to find such an amazing resource that specializes in the alternative options for treatment with PCOS. For the readers that are unfamiliar with PCOS, can you explain what it is and how it has affected your life?

JuliePCOS is a syndrome that can cause many different symptoms. The most common symptoms are weight gain and cysts on the ovaries. Often a woman is first diagnosed when she has trouble getting pregnant, but the symptoms can include excess body or facial hair, weight gain, acne, thinning hair, high cholesterol, and painful, i rregular or missing periods. I first learned I had PCOS when I was 19, but the doctors never told me to expect fatigue, weight problems and the other issues that go along with PCOS. Like many other women, I spent years trying to figure out what was wrong with me – even after I had been diagnosed. Doctors are more familiar with PCOS now then they were 15 years ago, but there are still so many women who are undiagnosed or who are under-treated once they are diagnosed. Since PCOS is a syndrome, there are huge variations in how each woman experiences it. Some women with PCOS have no cysts on their ovaries, are of normal weight, and have regular, though widely spaced, periods.

Carol - What types of health issues are women with PCOS likely to experience?

JulieWomen with PCOS are at high risk of developing obesity, diabetes, heart disease, ovarian cysts, high cholesterol, infertility, endometrial cancer, asthma, thyroid problems and many other health problems. The good news is that PCOS is very treatable. It takes work and sometimes some experimenting to determine what will work for each woman, but in most cases symptoms can be reduced with good treatment. For some women the best answer is medication. For me, the best answer was natural treatments. I was able to eliminate many of my symptoms and even become pregnant naturally. We are expecting a baby girl in just a few weeks.

Carol - Congratulations, Julie! That is fantastic news and I know you must be extremely happy. A lot of women who are diagnosed with PCOS have great difficulty conceiving, so for you to be able to conceive naturally is nothing short of a miracle! In another book of yours, Natural Infertility Treatments, you provide natural alternative ways to help women conceive. Can you share a few tips that worked for you with our readers who may have had trouble conceiving?

JulieThe healthier you are, the better your chances of conceiving. This goes for both men and women. When your body is healthy it is much easier to get and stay pregnant. There is no magic pill, but there are many inexpensive ways you can improve your chances of having a baby.
Clomid and other medical treatments did not work for me. Getting healthy worked. We were able to conceive our daughter in just 4 months with no medical help. However, that was after I spent years figuring out how to reduce my PCOS symptoms.
Keep your hope alive, even during the rough times. Infertility is incredibly difficult. The roller coaster of emotions is unbelievable unless you have been there.

CarolWhat made you decide to write your first book about PCOS? Had you been a published author before?

JulieI could not find the information I needed. After years of searching, I had compiled a lot of great information and I found myself sharing it with other women who had PCOS. I decided to put it all in a book to make it easier for others to find what they needed to change their lives. I had written a lot for some of my jobs, but this was my first book and my first big solo project.

Carol
- Why did you choose Lulu to publish your books?

JulieLulu offers complete editorial control, a convenient system, and great fulfillment. Although there are other options, I have stayed with Lulu all this time because it works. I have never had a customer complaint about Lulu.

CarolHow has publishing your books helped you to help others?

JulieIt is incredibly gratifying to receive emailed thank you notes every week from women who have been diagnosed but given no help, or who have been scared into believing that PCOS means they will die young or never have a baby. Although there is no cure right now, PCOS is treatable. With treatment, most women with PCOS can have babies and most of the issues such as diabetes or cancer are preventable with lifestyle changes or medication. So often newly diagnosed women are terrified and have no idea where to turn. Being able to help give them the empowerment to make changes in their lives is the most rewarding part of my work.

CarolJulie, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview. The worst enemy women with PCOS have is not knowing, and every bit of exposure this subject gets can be helpful and life-changing. Congratulations on your pregnancy! That alone gives hope to many who are struggling with conception.

Julie Renee Holland’s Lulu storefront can be found at www.lulu.com/wellness . Holland also helps women with PCOS through her website PCOS Coach www.pcoscoach.com. Her newsletter is a fantastic resource for women with PCOS.

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9 Comments

  1. Wonderful post. I too have been forced to find my own information due to the horrible care from doctors. I’m so glad to hear you and others are sharing information about the natural route — I’ve had SO much success since going this way, I look forward to your future posts!
    Pamela
    http://www.pcosinfo.com

  2. Hi Pamela, thank you for your kind words and the link to pcosinfo.com. Knowledge is the best medicine!

    Best wishes :)

  3. Karly

    i’m sixteen i was just diagnosed today and told i will have a really hard time getting pregnant in the future.. is this true?

  4. Hi Karly, I’m so sorry that you’ve been told you have this syndrome, but don’t worry – not all hope is lost. It is true that some women with PCOS have a very difficult time becoming & staying pregnant, but this isn’t the case for all. You are lucky (even though it probably doesn’t feel like it at the moment) to have been diagnosed at such an early age. This gives you the advantage of time and knowledge. The best way to fight the symptoms of PCOS is to take good care of yourself with diet and exercise. If you can reduce your symptoms naturally, you may not have any trouble conceiving when the time is right.
    Good luck in your journey, Karly.

  5. Shannon

    Im 17 and I’m scared I think I might have this. I’m a picky eater so idk how to contain a good diet. Also I’m a virgin and my boyfriend and I were planning on having sex for the first time but now that I know about this is it safe to have sex?

  6. Hi Shannon, first things first – if you think you might have PCOS, you should definitely see a doctor. It’s a good idea to keep a healthy diet even if it’s determined that you don’t PCOS. A medical professional will be able to answer your specific questions.

  7. Good Luck and God Bless ladies.

  8. Micayla

    i was diagnosed with pcos at age 16 after i had gone through a emergency surgery to remove my right ovary because of it i was wondering if it is still possible of me conceiving naturally because i think my chances are slim now that i have one defective ovary left in my body.

  9. Florence

    I went to the hospital 6 months ago thinking i had miscarriaged but i was shocked to be informed by the doctor that i wasn’t pregnant but rather i had PCOS. I have been trying to conceive since then and i am so frustrated. But what annoys me most is that i have this urge of taking sugary things and that i have frequent mood swings. Pls advice me on how i should stop these urges.thank you

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